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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.

"Chance – Louis Pasteur

favors

the

prepared

mind."

You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.

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So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.

How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.

Strengths
• • • • • • •

What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?

Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".

Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.

3 Weaknesses
• • • •

What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.

Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities
• • • • • • •

What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?

You might find useful opportunities in the following:
• • • •

Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?

Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.

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Threats
• • • • •

What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?

Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.

A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.

Strengths
• • • •

I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.

Weaknesses

• • •

I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.

Opportunities
• • •

One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.

Threats

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• • •

Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.

As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.

Key Points
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction

Discover Yourself and Your Purpose

How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.

Exploring Your Talents First of all. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. Once unmasked.firstly asking you to explore your talents. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. that is finding career direction. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . growth. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. and reinvention. What Do I Want to Do? 3.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. How Do I Get Hired? 1. In fact. Who Am I? 2. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. development. and stresses of everyday life. and using. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. defenses. is a journey. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed.

think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. Personality Inventories Next. Influence. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. and as you identify possible careers. DISC (Dominance. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. That said. While no personality type is good or bad. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. One trick is to turn things around. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. Rank these in order. and avoid the things that . it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. however considering the importance of what you're doing. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types.

You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. and where others didn't. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do.after all. many different people could perform well in these situations. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. and this gives you little information. The talents you achieve most with. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. and your way of seeing the world. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . your beliefs. You choose to react one way over another. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. . After all.8 frustrate and demotivate you. and you'll probably underachieve. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. or to prefer one thing to another. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. The activities you get most satisfaction from. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. 2. Tip: When you're doing this. In psychological terms.

extend out and brainstorm the other options available. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters.com iii. industry and profession. Because of this. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. Using the test results as a starting point. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up.assessment.self-directed-search. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding. a radical career change may be the best thing. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way.. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying.. who may be much younger than you.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. ii.9 i. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. Useful ones are: Free. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. . and can only cope with the major career types. Once you've done this. nor do they know about less well-known careers. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing.com http://www. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. they can't recommend new careers. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. On the other hand.

Career research is not something many people relish.10 iv. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. if you're having trouble prioritizing. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. Understanding where organizations are based. • • • • • • • • • . But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. Attending professional and trade shows. job availability. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. We're not asking you to choose one now. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. Volunteering. Pulling This Together. and what the issues and problems within it are. Also. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. job pay levels. and perhaps to move. Yes.org. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Visiting company websites. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. v. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. qualifications needed. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Participating in job fairs. who the major players in it are. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. so that you can understand industry trends. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. this is quite tedious. etc. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews.

Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. now you need to actually map your progress. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. 3. a job that sounds really glamorous. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. you may have rejected several possible careers. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. • These are your short term goals. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. faster. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. or a whole host of other distractions. in order to get there. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. the better the job .11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose.

Learning is replaced with routine. You are feeling unappreciated. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. You know when you are in a job you like. The effort however. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. whatever the industry or the job title. artistic people would be . Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you.12 that you'll be able to choose. Likewise. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. For example. You are no longer having fun. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. if you’re a science person. the career that you are meant for will materialize. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. You are suffering from stress or depression. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy.

This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. or which demands a lot of number crunching. persistent. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. Avoid activities that seem mundane. curious.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. and machines. practical. 2. those that need interaction with other people. Value concrete and tangible things like . Avoid "social" activities. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. or enjoy working with objects. commercial or "enterprising". inflexible. Common traits: • Hard-headed. intellectual. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. precise. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. . materialistic. tools. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. and status. but may not be good with people. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1.money. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. but often lack leadership skills. In a perfect world. pessimistic. and genuine. and reserved. Common traits: • Analytical. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. power. Value scientific endeavors.

Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. popular. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. sensitive. introspective. record keeping.14 3. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. Common traits: • Idealistic. Value political and economic achievement. adventurous. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. sociable. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. and cooperative. patient. ambitious. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. and enjoy using materials to create art. 4. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. and organizing written or numerical data. optimistic. Value social activities. tactful. training. but may lack scientific ability. Common traits: • Generous. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. Conventional people . Common traits: • Extroverted. reproducing materials. understanding and able to teach others. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. and exhibitionistic. complicated . filing. developing. great leaders and speakers. Conventional (C): 6. Value aesthetics. emphatic. curing and enlightening others. 5. impractical and nonconformist. persuasive.

data. This gives their Holland's code (for example. Common traits: • Efficient. Value business and economic achievement. For example. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. conscientious. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. . and ideas. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. practical. ESA). and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. things. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. defensive. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. and methodical. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. inflexible.

one costs US$9. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. These are more Artistic responsibilities. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. just complete steps i and ii below. To find your ideal career according to this approach. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. One strategy to deal with this is to . you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. "How would my spouse. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. entertainment.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. Here again. To shape your job. use our complete process. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. However. For instance. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. (If so. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. not who we really are. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. There are many of these. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. ask yourself. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. family. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. and so on.

Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. look at our Life Plan Workbook. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. and set realistic goals to change things. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. . you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. time limited goal. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. Likewise.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. and set the goals that will lead you there. In particular. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. If you're thinking about your career. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. and do well. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment.

making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. or using your knowledge to change working methods. By subtly redesigning your job like this. 4. using skills that you already have. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. Stephen. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. though. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. did a great job. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. however. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. has a particular flair for graphic design. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. So.) . Act to put positive change in place. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. adjust and continue. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. In short. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. Decide what you want to change. 3. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. Her successor. and you can start whenever you want. 2. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. Overall. so that you can generate better results. improving both satisfaction and performance. you can play to your strengths. Rebecca. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". (If you're not sure what your strengths are. Practically any job can be crafted. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. follow these steps: 1.18 The previous post-holder. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. they've both been really good performers. Check on progress. at least to some extent.

more effective workforce. For example. and the organization as a whole. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. your colleagues. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system.19 • Relationships: Here. For example. In our example. For more on this. or more interaction with people from other departments. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. but the overall impact may well be negative. go back to Step 1. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. For example. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. If this isn't the case. you should take into account your clients. Here. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. your supervisor or manager. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. or a boost to your own self-esteem. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly.

perfecting the skill of job crafting can. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". And of course. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. as mentioned in Step 2. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. nothing will come of it. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. managerial input or approval before you start. and you feel good about what's happening. in itself. within your recrafted job. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. you can let your changes become a habit. lead to career enhancement opportunities. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. If everything checks out. or expect. . if you have any managerial responsibilities. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. But don't wait for. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. By refocusing your job in this way. 2 and 3 above. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set.20 Also. In job crafting. check that it gives you what you want. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. After all. and you decide to make the necessary changes. When you have a number of other people to supervise. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you.

will your job even exist in its present form in five years. and so find out what might also work for you. having checked they're having a positive effect. you may uncover some interesting ideas. in order to change aspects of your current job. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. you put the changes into practice. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. you look for a win-win solution. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. so that it suits you better. increasing enjoyment. you make sure they become a habit. and then.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise.

Your specific technical skills may get out of date.) When you work for this kind of company. innovation. Get and remain tech-savvy. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. Otherwise.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. however. Develop your competencies. skills and experience. Leadership. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. your kit may need to adapt as well. And remember. If you're early in your career. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. Develop cross-functional skills. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. it is critically important to continue your professional development. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. do it. Toyota and Mars. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. A broad range of competencies. If you're in a highly technical field of work. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. specialization is no longer the route of choice. Along with technical skills. Monitor and track your progress. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. or in addition to. communication. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. And yes. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. as your own circumstances change. what you are doing now. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. It can pay off for some. . Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. To maximize your chances of success.

Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. Build and maintain a professional network. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. When you add a mentor or two to your network. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. No one can accurately predict the future. Create and maintain a success journal. your profession and the industry you are in. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. • • • • • Track your duties. When you have a ready list of things you have done. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. however stay ahead of the crowd . The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures." In many industries. projects and results. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. List the training you've completed. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. Employers want to know what you will do for them. Note your volunteer work. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. Asking for assignments that require international exposure.23 "Think global. Scan the environment. The more experience you get. Learning another language. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. Join professional networking associations. • • • • Collect business cards. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. Your co-workers. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain.

if you're good at what you do. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. Keep a clear career path open. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. boredom and. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you.24 by keeping yourself informed.or career-change. in the long term. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. and development may be blocked. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future.and for employers . With some forethought and planning. To learn more about resiliency. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. Back your hunches and analysis with action. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. however hard you work. you will eventually have to leave. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. For many. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. Because the future is uncertain. Develop realistic and achievable goals. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. This will lead to frustration. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. It is better to prepare now. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. Develop resilience. this will not be the case. however. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. and choosing to work in industries . you can take control of your future career . failure to achieve your potential.that have long-term sustainability. even if it means a job. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry .

what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. you've got some useful skills. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. But you currently have no management experience. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. In this article. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. So.25 today.even if they are not directly related to your current job. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . You've always wanted to work in management. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. Sure. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. you can show initiative. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. What can you do? Well. for many people. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. This is something you feel passionate about. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role.

You're a good writer. marketing. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. depending on the new company or position. budgeting. in the long term. The company might offer training seminars. Although you may not see immediate results. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. and to build up your portfolio. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. Eventually. . Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. fundraising. and more. Well. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. then consider volunteering for community organizations. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. You can write a few articles in your spare time. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. When it's time to apply for that management position. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. And. if you really want to make a career change. you could make the transition to full-time journalist.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. you won't get paid for it). and the good impression you'll make. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. Many nonprofits . However. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. These skills are highly valued in the business world. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. As well as learning new skills. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. or reimburse you for outside classes. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. then applying for a related position. project management. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. as a volunteer. The important thing is to see your name in print. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. writing.

if you want to become a medical doctor. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. personnel development.than a traditional school. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. With distance learning. however. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. accounting and finance. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. and so on. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). you attend class at the time and place of your choice . you can often complete a qualification in less time . but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. . each exploring a different area of relationship building. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . Instead of a traditional management class. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). often use lectures from several different experts . Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that.and at a much lower cost . Executive-level workshops. or on weekends. in the evenings. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. And. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time.27 However.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. workshops might offer several different lectures.on your lunch hour. For example. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. business management. marketing. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. for example). You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. you may have to use your vacation time. For example. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. Skills like project management. Executive-level workshops can be expensive.

You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. – Viktor Frankl. This will strengthen your qualifications. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want.. Consider where your next career move will be. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. 2. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. 4. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Apply This to Your Life 1. Where possible. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . but prove to them that you really do care about the job. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense.. If you're still not sure. 3. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. If that's not practical. to choose one's way. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning.

when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. and work well under pressure. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. but it's even more important for you to do so. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. But at work.. As the above quote shows. feelings of joy. no matter what the situation is. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. excitement. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. Worry/nervousness. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. how can you become better at handling your emotions. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. So. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. After all. a boss who is too .29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. you're always free to choose how you react to it. and department changes. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. if management is forced into making more layoffs. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. Dislike. After all. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. or unable to move forward in some way. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. Disappointment/unhappiness.. compassion. Anger/aggravation. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. as well as your productivity. You know. In your personal life. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. staff layoffs.

• • . and this can impact not only your mental health. you could use this time to relax a little. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. but also your productivity. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. that probably won't help you keep your job. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. such as anger. Write it down. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. But this worry can easily get out of control. Do this at least five times. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. and be specific. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. and nothing else. Focus on your breathing. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. and that isn't good for anyone. Instead. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. then you have more time to prepare. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. For more on this. Whatever the reason. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. if you allow it. if your boss is late for your meeting. For instance. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. and your willingness to take risks at work. just move on. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. and you sit there and worry. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. Or. and look at the situation. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something.

no matter what. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. But it's important to be professional.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. This interrupts your angry thoughts. If you start to get angry. When you're worried and nervous about something. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. you can forget about these worries. For instance. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. imagine how you would look. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. Remember. it can dent your self-confidence. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. you can choose how you react in a situation. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. so learn to recognize them when they begin. Before that time. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. it gives you some perspective on the situation. knowing that you'll deal with them.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Also. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. Stopping your anger early is key. if you're about to shout at your co-worker.

and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. ups and downs. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. you might be afraid to take another risk. Remember. your energy will probably be low. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. negative emotions can spread. but make a small change – for example. . Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. After all. and calmly leave the situation. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. delay the deadline. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. as you would treat anyone else. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. If they did. that doesn't mean you should as well. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. you always have the power to change your situation. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. Keep the goal.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. Remember. set the example. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback.

seemingly lessdeserving people . You may even do your job exceptionally well. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . and stretching yourself beyond your current role. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.it means doing more of the RIGHT things. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. your value to the company is your efficiency. Now. then.in your pursuit of a promotion. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. When those emotions begin to appear. Think about it. Organizations move forward by solving problems. remember . immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle.and that may move you forward too. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. Why is it. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. But going beyond what's expected. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. The longer you wait. why should I promote you? Clearly. If you're busy working away. and that you're ready to take on new ones. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. and which types of feelings you face most often. If I promote you. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things .

promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. Then. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. Expand your skill set. and make sure you acquire these. For example. If your exposure is broader.to similar positions in different departments .it's a win-win! . When you have questions for your boss. review bottom-line results. Think about cost versus benefit. look for opportunities to lead projects. perhaps by reading the industry press.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. and stay current in your field. managers are given responsibility for something. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. and you'll make your boss's job easier . You'll expand your range of experience. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. To gain access to them. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . while also demonstrating individual competence. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. gain experience in other areas of the company. For example. This involves working well as part of a team. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. to learn and practice other skills. Get up-to-date. Also. come prepared with solutions as well. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. and make a plan to acquire those skills.

That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. . and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. faster. Find out what they did to get where they are. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. you'll probably end up disappointed. find ways to work around them. When you run into obstacles. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. is a great benefit. Rather than accept things as they are. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better.it's often adding something of value as well. think how you can improve them . Set your goal. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. The more you learn from other people's experiences. and who might champion your ideas. always think about how to do things better. Look for a mentor within the organization.others in your company who may want the same position you want . Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. even if you aren't sure of the response. Evaluate your strengths. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . Understand the big picture. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. Take note of who your internal competition might be . the better. How can you do something cheaper. Having someone to talk to. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. Look for things that aren't being done at all. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. Put forward your ideas. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion.

By being proactive. Get the Recognition You Deserve . and communicate your promotion goals to others. Simply doing what's expected of you. To prepare for promotion. and even being the best at what you do. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. expand your skill set. As you execute your promotion plan. Let people know what you want. That won't guarantee a promotion. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. and then proactively work to achieve it. you can create the path to the position that you want. Using your knowledge of the organization. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. take on more of the right responsibilities. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. are not guarantees of advancement. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. increase your value to the organization. Understand what drives your company's success. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. though. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. Network with people in the company. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. If you aren't ready yet.

An "Employee of the Month" certificate. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. it would seem odd. and never show up late . .37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. never miss deadlines. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. and as a result. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. at least once in a while. Beside each one. because everyone wants something different. people often just want simple praise. So. Unfortunately. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. or bonuses. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. you wish. hard check doesn't always communicate that. There are many types of recognition. and you don't point it out to him or her. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. or a cold. so decide what type you want. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. Then. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars.and to top it all off. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. Believe it or not. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. if you're a bit nervous. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. Be sure to make yourself look good. Why? Firstly. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. you would. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. However. certificates. but also share credit where credit is due. you might forget something important that you've done. That includes you. You'd think that by doing all of this. there is a way to do this. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you.

then do it carefully and tactfully . consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. then people may notice. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. You know your boss and your business environment. Keep it genuine and honest. however. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. If so. and you may look bad. Before you get upset. If you appear insincere. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. In your work environment. Yes. • . and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. then say it. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. If this feels a little too much like bragging. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. You can also praise others in front of your boss. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. If you have something good to say. If you tell your boss directly.he or she may be praising you. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. As you talk. not-too-obvious way. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. and you don't even realize it. For example.in a private area. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. Keep the focus off yourself. For example. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well.

and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. send them emails praising their efforts. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. sending emails about small accomplishments. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. When you recognize the efforts of your team. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing.in their lives. If you notice co-workers doing something great.and to do that. If you're a team leader. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. Even if you keep the focus off yourself.or even one job . he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. If so. your boss has to know what you've already done. they're likely to be older than 50. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. and send copies to your boss. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . and they're not working for the government.

however. As a result of globalization. downsizing. It can be an adventure. but you can control how you look at it. and leadership). "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. because you'll know you've done all you can. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. and keeping stress away." What else can you do . It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. recession and even natural disaster. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. and never having a reason to fear layoffs.40 pension. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. contracting.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. the technical skills you need can change quickly. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. These days. another one opens. develop your nontechnical skills as well. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. • • . Your home life." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. and the chance to do something new. It's impossible to know what the future will bring.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. willingness to adapt to change. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . If you're a good worker with marketable skills. So. be prepared. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. the world is much different. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. your organizational skills (time management.the "fear" of losing your job . think "outside the box. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. and your people skills. and use this site to build solid career skills. team management. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. Next. never making the break to search for something better. So. In today's job market. For more information. Here. outsourcing.

Help another team member who's falling behind. Look for lateral transfers within your company. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. It's your life. you ALWAYS have control. and it's within your power to change it. Take outside classes and read trade publications. leadership techniques. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. and office organization can help you anywhere . allow everyone to voice their fears. so that you know what's going on in your field.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. make sure you give value to your company. Skills like effective time management. . think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). So. if you don't tell her. but don't let these fears dominate the group. By talking about your accomplishments. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. This can create negativity and hurt morale. Start learning about other departments. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd.no matter what job you're doing. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. to a different department or even a different branch. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. you keep him or her informed of your value. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. Remember. Be PROactive instead of REactive. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. Also. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized." then take control and act. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. have an open discussion. or what you're capable of doing. and you were forced to eliminate one position. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time.

and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. If you do get laid off. exciting path. if work dries up in your area. Focus on the positive. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. Key Points In today's business world. your life is what you make of it! . and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. if you are laid off.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. If you wait until the last minute. not on doubt and uncertainty. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes).the job. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. living with job insecurity is a reality for many. remember that the world is full of opportunities. And save some money. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. When your résumé is current. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon).or losing . But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. Remember. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. and put yourself onto a new. even if it's not the right match.

but then skip directly to acceptance. Denial. Also. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. These are: 1. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. 3. After all. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. the more you know. 2. Anger. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. Acceptance. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. Let's look at the stages in more detail. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. You might skip a stage. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. or in the same time frame. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. Sure. simply because more stress is involved. Depression 5. it finally happened. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. Bargaining 4. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. • Stage One: Denial . and think about what you can do to cope with each one. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience.

• Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. use anger management techniques. or the economy in general. or seek counseling. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. your boss. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. After all. and make you feel worse. or even a counselor. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. especially for the people around you. this is likely to be more practical. In Kübler-Ross's original model. if you've worked hard and "given your all". your company. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. Hurting the people you love will push them away. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. then you're in Stage One. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. and that you have to live with them. Talk with family and friends. To cope. To cope with denial. This can be one of the most difficult stages. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. . • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper.

You might offer to work part-time.45 For instance. To cope with this stage. be aware of what you're doing. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. You're grieving for your lost job. learn from the experience. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. or reduced benefits." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. another one opens somewhere. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. and move on. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. as someone else also said. if it was your fault. forgive yourself. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. or train any new hires that come through the door. your job right now is to find another job. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. "Whenever one door closes. Helping others can be very healing. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. Put your energy into moving forward. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. you might slip into a state of depression. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Remember. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. Bargaining is almost always futile. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive." But. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. Or. You can call it fate or destiny. .

then seek help so you can move forward. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. anger. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Talk about your emotions. incredible. Again. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. despite your best effort. if not impossible. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. bargaining.yet. It was very hard. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. depression and acceptance. or go through all five: everyone is different. you've learned from it. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. do something productive. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. Traditionally. and you're stronger because of it. you might skip some stages. for them to reach ." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. and keep moving forward. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. or if it was your fault. Give yourself time to work through each stage. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. You're a talented.

with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons.47 upper management positions." However. indeed. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. want to break through that glass. No matter how qualified or experienced. Today. And it's not always limited to gender or race. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. . These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. you have a choice. here are some steps to take. risk takers. However. the glass ceiling is still very real. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. If you do.

then monitor and measure your performance. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. Be proactive and go after what you want. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization.48 To further clarify these ideas. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. If you achieve that goal. and attributes. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. Start with the introduction to communication skills. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. set goals to get there. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. skills. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. because it probably won't be handed to you. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. Each of these is complex. Communication skills will help you. For example. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. no matter what job title you have. You're responsible for determining your own career direction.

If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Read more about Professional Networking. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. to be effective and actually make it to the top. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. However. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. biases and stereotypes. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you.49 provide you with valuable information. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Past practices. Get involved with cross-functional teams.

That means proactively managing every . you need to champion and market yourself. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. those at the top can see down. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. Speak up and contribute in meetings. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. communication skills. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Remember. Know that you're doing everything right. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. watch for discriminatory behavior. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. technical knowledge. To do this. Don't just accept frustration and failure. while you can see up. and develop plans to change them. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. leadership abilities. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top.50 and ideas on how to find one. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. Visibility is very important. You want people to see your competence. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want.

a strong network. So. Ask for support and assistance . now is the time to make one! Does your boss.this is a sign of strength. Yet. or anyone in your organization.51 step of your career. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. and. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. You probably didn't plan for it. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. your old boss is leaving. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. but most people don't succeed all on their own. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. and monitor your progress. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. hopefully. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. and you may find new zones of opportunity. not weakness. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. like it or not. and potentially change the direction of your . Apply some of the ideas in this article. you might have to work harder than others. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. a mentor. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want.

during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. a new boss will likely have different opinions. There's a proper balance that you can find. But you also need to know how and when to act. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. 2. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). and prove yourself. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. However. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. However. and even a different management style. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. as well as which problems to avoid. so expect to change the way you work. This person needs your help. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. so the boss may look to you for help. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. In many ways. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. but doesn't know . and you have to be supportive. So. different policies. you are also new to your new boss. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. is nothing. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. Things will likely be different. you're not facing reality. In this article. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. but doesn't. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. in this case. This can lead to three possibilities: 1.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period.

He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. considerately. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). and sufficiently. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. perhaps. If you do either of these. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. but don't appear too eager. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. because she did your job before you got there. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. Tip: Be helpful. 3. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. . On the other hand. and you have to work with this new person.53 it. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. yourself). However. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. Your new boss knows what you do. Your goal is to educate tactfully." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. (If you were competing for the job. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. But your new boss may have a more general management background. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. Even if your new boss knows what you do. Offer your help.

and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. but also figuring out who the key players are. For example.. individual preferences.. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • .54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. Use common sense. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. but at least you'll know. but we've summarized some of the information here. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . Now What? covers this in detail. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic.

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